Friday, May 26, 2006

Wal Mart - Part 1

The following is a letter I submitted to the editor of the Moscow Pullman Daily News for publication. I had to speak up on what I believe to be a critical issue for the future of Pullman and Moscow:

Wal-Mart has dangled the tax revenue carrot in front of the City and it salivates – but tax revenues in this instance come at a heavy cost. The Pullman City Council’s motto boasts the "highest quality of life" but City staff seems to have forgotten that quality of life comes from more than the availability of cheap goods; it starts with basic planning and foresight. One can see examples of the lack of an effective planning code in Pullman without much effort – the monstrous church on Grand Avenue - its disproportionate size to the neighborhood is nearly laughable, if it weren't so unsightly; allowing a non-retail use of a former theater in the downtown retail core despite the pleadings of existing retail business owners in the area; the cookie-cutter housing developments at the city’s entrance; allowing people to donate land for a park and name it after themselves, and now, the proposal of a supersized Wal-Mart, with no recourse. It’s all very Pottersville.

It’s troubling that, despite the large number of residents opposed to the Wal-Mart, the City didn’t organize opportunities for formal input on the issue during the development of the project and no promise has been made to update City code to ensure that citizens have a voice in future projects.

As a former 25-year resident of Pullman, to some, my voice may seem irrelevant to this issue, but I care about the welfare of my home town. Pullman's residents should take action now to ensure that the City's codes provide for public review and input, and that they protect the aesthetic balance and quality of life that Pullman's residents expect. As it stands, Pullman's City Code gives corporations the power to transform the town however they choose- but it should be the residents who have the final say.

If you have concerns about the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman, please voice your concerns by writing a letter to the Editor of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News at They have a limit of 300 words and the final decision in Whitman County Superior Court is expected by June 22 - please get your letters in prior to that date.

Coming soon in Wal-Mart Part 2: Why Wal-Mart is not a good fit for Pullman - I can name at least 10 reasons off of the top of my head - can you? It's unfortunate that the perception of cheap products blinds people to the actual cost of a Wal-Mart on a town.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Palouse living is safer living

Being a current resident of the west side of the state, I tire of hearing of abductions, murders, drive-by shootings, and hit-and-runs every day on the evening news. It bothers me so much that I don't watch the news much anymore and I don't read any of my local newspapers. Don't get me wrong - I know that I can occasionally find some story of pleasant interest if, perhaps, I dig down in the back pages of the local section, or if I'm lucky, and it involves a big enough celebrity, a pleasant story might be found on the front page for my convenience - it's just that I don't want to be a party to the masses who pander to the "if it bleeds it leads" mentality. That's why I love the Moscow Pullman Daily News. I still love to read the police blogs in this fine newspaper. It's a rare day when we read about abductions, murders, drive-by shootings, and hit-and-runs in this entertaining section of the paper, and it makes me fall in love with the people of the Palouse all over again. Below is a selection from the police blogs as they appeared in the Moscow Pullman Daily News on Monday, May 15, and Wednesday, May 17, 2006.

Moscow Police
6:57 p.m. — A man walking on White Avenue stole a construction cone and put it on his head.

12:07 p.m. —Man reported his parents stole his motorcycle on the 200 block of North Asbury Street.

Latah Sheriff
5:08 p.m. — Woman noticed something missing from her purse on the 3000 block of Tomer Road in Moscow.

And my favorite...

WSU Police
2:01 a.m. — Someone in the 700 block of Southeast Chinook Drive called the police to report the Prince of Darkness was in her parking space and she was afraid to get out of her vehicle. The responding officer found a devil made of cheap rubber, took a photo and exorcised him from the parking space.

Lord, if I called the sheriff every time something was missing from my purse, they'd know me on a first name basis by the end of the week.